The Museum of Chinese in America

Founded in 1980, the Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) is dedicated to preserving and presenting the history, heritage, culture and diverse experiences of people of Chinese descent in the United States.

Guest Post: Betty Ming Liu Dishes on Dumplings

Note: this post was originally written by the author on her blog at bettymingliu.com and is used here with her permission.

Last night’s sold-out talk-&-tasting event at the Museum of Chinese in America was a hit. We had the best time because both the dialogue and the dumplings were totally delicious!

The 6-8 p.m. food fest began with an hour-long panel discussion. Afterwards, about 100 guests wandered through MoCA’s new building, sampling 10 different types of dumplings catered from six NYC restaurants.

Thank you, Rachel!

Dumpling Night was sponsored by Rachel Sha of Prudential Douglas Elliman. We became pals years ago, when we were both MoCA trustees. For months, she searched the city for the best goodies to feed us. Her choices were nuanced, varied and elegant. I’ve got links below to all the places she ordered from — and more.

(left to right) Eddie Huang, Chris Cheung, Andy Coe, Kian Lam Kho — and I moderated!

The dumpling panel

Our four terrific speakers were:

  • Kian Lam Kho, 55, private chef and blogger (“Red Cook: Adventures from a Chinese Home Kitchen”). He teaches an in-depth Chinese dumpling-making class at the Institute of Culinary Education.
  • Andrew Coe, 51, author of “Chop Suey,” a scholarly book that traces the history of America’s love affair with Chinese food, which began in 1784.
  • Brooklyn-born chef Chris Cheung, 40, China 1 executive chef who is about to open a new midtown spot called Walle. Check out all his YouTube videos. The crowd really dug his heavy, Bensonhurst accent.
  • Chef Eddie Huang, 28, bad boy from Baohaus who specializes in Taiwanese street food with a young American twist. Xiao Ye is his new eatery. Check out the blog post that proved his NYC foodie street cred.

Briefly, our key talking points:

  • The Chinese have been eating and making dumplings for at least 2,000 years.
  • Northern China’s hearty, thick-skinned, meat-filled dumplings (eg, pot stickers) are traditionally viewed as peasant food.
  • The rich folks in Southern China specialize in delicate, thin-skinned dumplings with fancy fillings (eg, dim sum, soup dumplings).
  • The American palate for these bite-sized bits of hand-made love is evolving. New creations are popping up all the time.
It was a food fest

Where to eat the best dumplings

We dined on delights from restaurants in Manhattan (China 1Red EggShanghai Cafe, Xiao Ye); Brooklyn (East Harbor Seafood Palace) and Queens (Szechuan Gourmet).

During the panel’s Q&A with the audience, someone asked Eddie where he goes when he needs a fix. His answer: Nan Xiang Dumpling House in Flushing. Rachel said that it’s named for a town on the outskirts of Shanghai where the soup dumpling was invented. She and her husband tried the place on their way home — and loved it.

Susan Glauberman LaRosa and Paul LaRosa

Our press coverage

Really happy to share the night with my personal friends who included: Arthur Schwartz (foodmaven.com), Max Gross (New York Post), David Leung (Sing Tao Daily), married bloggers Susan Glauberman LaRosa (aCakeBakesinBrooklyn.com) and Paul LaRosa (PaulLaRosa.com), and Madeline Muldoon (AlwaysHungryNY.com).

We also received a nice write-up on DNAinfo.com. Being back at MoCA to moderate also gave me a chance to catch up with new museum director Alice Mong and programs chief Beatrice Chen. It’s been a while!

Special thanks to two very special people

Wendy specializes in fine, beaded jewelry
Doesn’t her jewelry look great on me?

Jewelry designer Wendy Lin provided gorgeous earrings and bracelets for my daughter and I to wear. Wendy shows her work at top craft fairs throughout the Northeast. There’s also beautiful stuff featured on her website.

Before becoming an artist, my dear friend Wendy was a Newsday reporter. She is inspiring proof that if you keep following your dreams, there is life after journalism.

And hey — my daughter took the pictures you’re viewing! Up until now, I’ve been referring to her on the blog as “The Princess” to protect her privacy. But we talked about that last night. She deserves credit for her work…

All photos by: Gabrielle Ebron.

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